February is coming to an end, and many of us just celebrated Valentine’s Day last week. I was thinking about how special it is to have a day dedicated to love; so many types of love, and I wanted to focus this article on an important type of love.
Let’s talk about love, in parenting.
Were you told that “Parenting is innate and all you need is Unconditional Love.” How about “If you just love them, they will be fine.”
Well, the concept of unconditional love is the easy part, like buying chocolates or cards on special occasions. The moment you know you are pregnant and your child is born into this world, you feel love like you have never felt before. The day to day work involved in parenting, now that’s another issue. It can be challenging, and you know it if you are a parent. Some of my favorite go-to stress relief sites are the Mom and Dad YouTube channels that make us laugh out loud at the craziness that goes on in our homes when we become a parent.
I’d like you to think of Love as a VERB
Loving our children takes active involvement and practice, in the day to day happenings of being a parent. Going forward, I invite you to actively practice bringing more love into your relationship with your children through appreciations. Appreciations are one way to bring more love into your relationship with your children and families each and every day.
It is easy to see and focus on the things that children “do wrong.” It’s all the “Don’t…” and “Stop…” phrases we say to children. I’d like you to watch for when your children are “getting it right,” like getting along with their brother or sister, doing the dishes without being asked, helping you unload the car, saying please and thank you. Etc…
Catch them in the act or let them know you noticed their good/helpful behavior when you have a moment together.
Say phrases like:
“Thank you for…”
“I loved it when you…”
Appreciations not only attune children towards behaviors that you want to see more of, they foster the connection between you and your child, they make children feel loved, and this is one way we can actively love as a parent each and every day.
If you feel stuck or need some more inspiration, download a worksheet or take an online course from Encouragement Parenting or contact me at (872) 216-5860.
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Catherine Gruener, LCPC, NCC, DCC, PDTC. Catherine is a multi-certified and licensed clinical professional counselor, nationally and internationally known for her parent training programs. She is the owner of Gruener Consulting and the Chief Executive Officer of the Encouragement Parenting Division.